Berkeley Prep, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Lakeland Christian, Tampa Catholic
Tampa Catholic dominated the district, going 5-0 to win the district title en route to the 3A state semifinals. A plethora of scenarios involved Frostproof, Fort Meade, Lakeland Christian and Berkeley Prep possibly making the playoffs, but Frostproof ultimately earned a playoff berth as the district runner-up, beating out Fort Meade in a tiebreaker. Berkeley Prep took its share of lumps, losing in close games to Lakeland Christian and Fort Meade.
Bishop McLaughlin. The program dropped out of the district to become an independent program after going 0-5 in district play and 2-8 overall.
Nate Craig, one of Pasco County’s brightest young stars last season, transferred to Tampa Catholic in January. Craig, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound sophomore, had more than 17 Division I scholarship offers at the time of his transfer, including Florida State, Ohio State and Auburn. He is one of the nation’s top 2016 recruits and has been invited to the 2016 Under Armour All-American Game. Because the second semester had already begun, however, Craig will not be able to participate in spring football.
Tampa Catholic had the lion’s share of top recruits in this district last season with All-American offensive lineman Corey Martinez and three-star athlete TJ Harrell. With Craig, however, the Crusaders have arguably the top junior in the Tampa Bay area for next season, along with rising junior defensive lineman Malik Borrow. Berkeley Prep junior quarterback Brad Mayes, a three-star prospect, has received interest from more than two dozen schools and will have two potential Division I receivers at his disposal in junior prospect Jacob Mathis and freshman Cade Weldon.
Tampa Catholic graduated several players at key positions, including starting quarterback Kyle Ploucher, linebacker Tre Watson and receiver Justin Motlow, all of whom will play in college this fall. Berkeley Prep graduated one of its top offensive linemen, Jared Shimberg, who will play for Brown, along with several linebackers. However, the Buccaneers return the top quarterback in the district in Mayes and his top two targets, along with the entire defensive line. Wins were tough to come by in this district last season, and four of the teams found themselves in the state poll. Fans can expect the same competition level this fall.